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Legal Issues Involving the Use of Self-Driving Cars in Florida

Last year, a Tesla car equipped with auto-pilot technology was involved in a fatal accident with a semi-truck. According to news reports released shortly after the accident, the car was traveling straight on the highway when a semi-truck pulled out in front of the car. Both the driver of the vehicle as well as the vehicle’s auto-pilot system failed to detect the bright-white side of the semi-truck, and the car collided with the side of the truck at full speed.

In the wake of the accident, many questions arose not just about the safety of self-driving cars but also regarding the many legal issues that the use of self-driving cars brings up. For example, when a person is operating a self-driving car in auto-pilot mode and a collision occurs, is the manufacturer liable for any injuries to a third party? What about the “driver” of the self-driving car?

These questions are no closer to being answered today than they were at the time of last year’s accident; however, as cases involving self-driving cars work their way through the court system, eventually courts will have to come up with answers to these questions.

Recently Released Report Provides Additional Details in Fatal Florida Self-Driving Car Accident

The National Transportation Safety Bureau (NTSB) recently released preliminary findings in the investigation into last year’s fatal auto-pilot accident in Florida. According to a news report detailing the NTSB’s findings, the driver of the Tesla had relied heavily on the vehicle’s auto-pilot feature prior to the fatal car accident. In fact, the vehicle was in auto-pilot mode for 37 of the 42 minutes of the journey. Additionally, the driver only had his hands on the steering wheel for a total of about 30 seconds in that whole time.

The investigation also revealed that the vehicle’s auto-pilot system provided the driver with seven warnings to place his hands back on the steering wheel and retake control of the vehicle. Despite the warnings, the driver continued to keep the vehicle in auto-pilot mode.

The NTSB’s investigation is still ongoing, and more detailed findings are expected to be released in the near future. While the NTSB report does little to answer the pressing legal questions the increased use of self-driving cars presents, it does illuminate the issues and force lawmakers to confront these concepts, which may lead to action in the future.

Have You Been Injured in a South Florida Car Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a South Florida car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Depending on the circumstances of the accident and the extent of your injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for your past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and any pain and suffering you endured as a result of the accident. The skilled attorneys at the personal injury law firm of Cecere Santana have extensive experience representing injured Floridians in all types of personal injury cases, including car accident cases. Call 800-753-5529 to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated South Florida personal injury attorney today.

More Blog Posts:

Boating Accidents in South Florida, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published June 1, 2017.

Florida Teen Killed in Hit-and-Run DUI Accident, Several Others Injured, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published May 11, 2017.

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